Certificate in Art of Spiritual Direction
This three-year spiritual director formation program, offered in partnership with with Center for Spiritual Development in Orange, California, is designed for individuals who discern in themselves a call to the ministry of spiritual direction. Applications for this program are due by June 30, 2023. Classes will begin in September. Details are below under General Information.
An ancient art that dates back to the early Church, spiritual direction is a ministry deeply rooted in the Christian tradition. Most fundamentally, the goal of spiritual direction is to help one to become more aware of God’s presence in his or her life and to make life decisions in fidelity to that awareness. Through the guidance of a trained spiritual director, this ministry can help one clarify, articulate and affirm a spiritual experience as revealed through all the situations and events in life. Spiritual direction is not psychotherapy or counseling, but utilizes the many skills of counseling.
The Art of Spiritual Direction professional certificate program provides a holistic formation program in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which integrates theology, Scripture, psychology, spirituality, skills development and supervision in the art of spiritual direction. This program is offered in partnership with Center for Spiritual Development, a ministry of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange.
Who Should Participate
This program is open to men and women of all cultures and faith traditions in whom there is a recognizable call to the ministry of spiritual direction and who seek formal preparation. These people are aware of the sense of others “seeking them out” for deeper conversations and advice about the spiritual life, and desire a formation course which will companion them in this preparation. This program requires an application to be considered for enrollment.
As we consider the Holy Spirit the real director, the “human director” assumes no superiority in faith since we are all equal before God. Rather, the director attempts to assume a humble and contemplative posture toward the directee by companioning the seeker in witnessing God’s mysterious loving presence and action in their life. Students will be formed to fulfill this role in service to others. As such, they will learn to:
- Recognize the reality and depth of the inner being
- Understand how we meet God in the interior of our yearnings, hopes, joys, struggles, values and hurts
- Enter into one’s own depths, weaving together body, mind, spirit and emotions in the presence of the Creator
Credit from this program may be applicable to catechist certification at the discretion of the certifying diocese. Please be sure to check with the appropriate diocesan office to confirm that this program qualifies for credit towards certification or recertification.
Course and program requirements, schedules and tuition are subject to change; and additional fees may be incurred for books and materials. Click here to review all policies prior to enrollment. For additional information, contact the Center for Spiritual Development.
Please note: this program has an in-person option at the St. Joseph Center campus. Proof of vaccination and booster for COVID-19 and/or masks may be required.
Begins: September, 2023
Application: An application is required for admission to this program. Please click here to the be redirected to the Center for Spiritual Development web site for information. Deadline: June 30, 2023
Tuition: for fall 2022, tuition was $4,200 ($1,400 per year); check back for fall 2023 tuition.
Classes meet once a month on Saturdays during the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters of the 2022-2023 academic year, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Pacific:
- September 10, 2022
- October 8
- November 12
- December 10
- January 14, 2023
- February 11
- March 11
- April 1
- May 13
- June 10
Students who entered in fall 2022 were able to choose either the in-person option for participation or the online option. This program is not hybrid (both in-person and online.) Classes meet concurrently (at the same time and in the same class).
All students starting the program in fall 2023 will only have the option of in-person classes.
This program is directed by the faculty of the Center for Spiritual Development.
Students must complete a total of 18.0 semester hours in coursework with a letter grade of 'B-' or higher in each course to receive a certificate of completion. In the third year of the program, students will be required to complete a supervised practicum in which they will have at least two of their own directees and meet for supervision each month. Please refer to the course catalog for required text, class meeting location, and other general information.
Coursework: RELX 891, RELX 892, and RELX 893
Art of Spiritual Direction I
6.0 Semester Hours
The ministry of spiritual direction can be understood as the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person’s life. It is a three-way relationship: among the true director who is the Holy Spirit (which in Christian tradition is the Spirit of Christ present in and among us), and the human director (who listens for the directions of the Spirit with the directee), and the directee. The interpretive framework of this relationship is seeded by understandings of the spiritual life found in scripture and in the lives and writings of great saints and theologians. In this course, students will be introduced to the basics of theology, psychology, spirituality, skills development, and supervision in the art of spiritual direction.
Art of Spiritual Direction II
6.0 Semester Hours
The ministry of spiritual direction can be understood as the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person’s life. In this second course, students will continue their exploration of theology, psychology, spirituality, skills development, and supervision in the art of spiritual direction. Students will also be assigned to a mentoring group, in which they will stay until the conclusion of the third course. In each class meeting, there will be in-put from the presenter, time for personal reflection and process, and various practicum activities designed by the faculty or the presenter of the day. The purpose of these activities is to give students practical experiences in the knowledge and skills presented on the day. Prerequisite: Art of Spiritual Direction I
Art of Spiritual Direction III
6.0 Semester Hours
The ministry of spiritual direction can be understood as the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person’s life. In this third course, students will continue their assignment to a mentoring group. Students are expected to meet at least six times, once during a month, for supervision with an approved supervisor, including supervision through the use of verbatims, and consultation regarding the practice of spiritual direction. This course will conclude with a capstone research paper. Prerequisite: Art of Spiritual Direction II